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Maharashtra was alerted on Oct 12: home secretary

By Sheela Bhatt
February 13, 2010 23:26 IST
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Maharashtra had been issued an advisory on October 12, 2009, that the suspected American Lashkar operative David Headley had surveyed the area around the Osho Ashram, Union Home Secretary G K Pilla told media-persons on Saturday.

Pune's German Bakery, site of Saturday's blast which killed eight persons, is a stone's throw from Osho Ashram.

"It should be noted that Osho Ashram, which is around 200 yards from the bakery, was one of the sites surveyed by the Lashkar e Tayiba operative David Headley. The Maharashtra police had been alerted about this on October 12, 2009," Pillai said.

According to him, the blast occurred when one of the bakery's staffers spotted a package and tried to open it.

The Maharashtra police, Anti-Terrorism Squad and forensic experts from the state government have already reached the site and are conducting their investigations. A team of forensic specialists from the Central Bureau of Investigation has also been airlifted from New Delhi to help in the investigations.

Pillai said following the blast the Maharashtra police has issued an advisory in the state to be on high alert, and the home ministry has done so to all the states. The ministry of home affairs has also warned citizens not to touch any unattended or unidentified baggage but to report the matter to the nearest police station.

Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is in Tamil Nadu, is monitoring the situation, Pillai said.

He told media-persons that he cannot comment on the motive behind the blast, as "forensic investigation has just begun so till it's over we won't know who is behind it."

Shifting the responsibility on to the state government, Pillai repeated that an advisory had been issued to the Maharashtra police about the "survey" done of the site in Pune.

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi